End of Summer Homestead Report

“And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.”

― Oscar Wilde

Fall has officially been ushered in with some wildly windy days and our temperatures have avoided the 90’s since the official last day of summer. While we typically don’t see seasons arrive like they were turned on by a switch, this year fall seems to have been waiting patiently to promptly arrive ready and on time. While I have pulled out a few sweaters for the chilly mornings at the bus stop, I know it is too soon to change over my closets to my fall and winter wardrobe as we always have a week where the temperatures will rise, giving us time to hurry through the garden and complete any outdoor projects, before they fall for good. This period has always been referred to by my mom as, “Indiana Summer.”

Historically, the Indian Summer or Second Summer, was a period of temperatures above 70 degrees lasting for seven or more days, that came after the fall equinox and first frost. Farmer’sAlmanac.com shares on their website, “No one really knows how the term “Indian summer” came to describe such periods. One theory suggests that early American settlers mistook the sight of sun rays through the hazy autumn air for Native American campfires, resulting in the name “Indian summer.” Others speculate that Native Americans recognized this weather pattern and used the opportunity to gather additional food for the winter.” (Source.)

Growing up, we always looked forward to going to “Indian Summer Days.” It was an event put on by our school district that was at one time a large farming community. It was so much a farming community that the students who attended were called the “Fairfield farmers” – a phrase some still jokingly say today. The significance of the Indiana Summer Days festival was to fundraise for the district and have a little fun. It was a festival with food, rides, and games and was like a last hoorah together as a community before winter came.

While every fall the memory of the festival revisits me, I have found over the years more of an appreciation of the history behind Indian Summer especially since moving into our farmhouse who will always be a work in progress. Knowing we will have a week of warm weather ahead, it allows for us to plan for those outdoor projects that need to be wrapped up for the year and will signal us it is time to store away the tractor, peddle boat, life jackets, and outdoor furniture until spring arrives next year.

Ahead in this month’s Homestead Report, I’ll be sharing about one of those projects we’re wrapping up, the heavy lifting we’ve been doing in the garden, a safety update from the coop and an amazing discovery here at the homestead that was just waiting to be found!

xo

The photos below are from the Journal News Paper archives.

Our side porch project is getting closer to completion, and we are so happy with how it has turned out. There had been a wood deck built over the old concrete steps and as much as we entertained the idea of just covering the old concrete up gain, we decided it was just better to tear it out so we could put in stairs that would pay homage to what once was there. Aaron, my husband, demoed out the old concrete stairs, laid a new base, and poured a foundation for the pre-casted concrete steps. While there had originally been an iron handrail, we opted for putting in a wood handrail that would complement the front and side porch and bring a bit of consistency and balance to the exterior.

This may appear to be a quick project, but I have to tell you it has taken some time. With Aaron having a full-time job, wet weather spells, and our children’s games on the weekends even smaller projects take more time than you hope. However, we know that as much as we want to rush through things, we’re here for the long haul with this old house and we know our children won’t always be. So, with that always in mind, we just begin our outdoor projects early in the season so they can be wrapped up before winter begins.

We owe a lot of thanks to our sweet friends who have lent their equipment and time to not only us but our home. You made the heavy lifting in this project so much easier. THANK YOU!

An Unexpected Find

I was out picking up some trash from where we’ve been working on the side porch stairs, and I walked over to our maple tree to snag a small piece of trash. Wouldn’t you know laying at the base of the tree was something flat and circular in shape. I have wanted to find an old coin on my own and so at first, I told myself not to get excited-honestly, what old coin would be lying right on top of the ground? I picked it up, put it in the tail of my shirt and rubbed the dirt away, and wouldn’t you know it was a coin! I rinsed it off with some water from the hose and moved it around in the light of the sun getting a good look at it and saw the numbers 1858! It was a flying eagle one cent coin which were only minted in 1856-1858 and was the first small coin minted in the U.S. Take a look below at what I found verses a coin in mint condition.

There is always a lesson to be found in the garden. Every year I find something that is successful and something that just didn’t work out as expected. This year was our first year of planting pumpkins and boy oh boy did we get some beautiful pumpkins! Hundreds of pounds of bright orange pumpkins have dotted our garden which has been exciting to see however, we’ve learned that pumpkins need a lot of space and a lot of water!

Even though we thought we had our pumpkins spread out far enough, we struggled to keep them off our sweet potatoes and our zucchini plants as well as off each other. We quickly learned that pumpkins need to have space breathe so they don’t become covered in a powdery mildew that you then have to treat. Lucky for us, our pumpkins did okay this year, but both Aaron and I are thinking they need their very own patch where they can have lots of room up by the old red barn.

Sweet potatoes are next to be harvested, and I have to say I enjoyed their purple blooms this summer as well as watching the bees working busily in the mornings. We have always planted new potatoes, but I thought it would be fun to do something different. While I’m one of the only fans of sweet potatoes in our household, I’m hoping to spend the fall and winter making a few more lovers of them since we’re going to have an abundance to go around!

Why did the chicken cross the road? I haven’t a clue but I’m trying to keep ours from venturing off!

This past week while we were waiting on the bus to arrive, our ladies decided they wanted to be more adventurous and explore along the creek. However, they kept working themselves down by the road which led to me having to shoo them back into the yard before they found themselves on the double yellow line in a tight curve!

After spending the week keeping a keen eye on where the ladies were pecking around at, my very first friend I made out here in the middle, dropped off egg cartons and wouldn’t you know she gifted us this adorable chicken crossing sign for our driveway! She had no idea the girls had been wandering out that way, but I tell you what it was perfect timing!

Since Big Bird it the leader of the flock, I brought her over to show her the new sign and we had a little conversation about how I expect her to keep the ladies away from the driveway as well as the road. She’s doing a good job so far, but if you pop in for a visit, keep an eye out!

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